A leading health campaigner believes Bridlington patients should be braced for major changes to Scarborough Hospital in the forthcoming months.
Jean Wormwell MBE, chair of Bridlington Health Forum, said ‘there was no smoke without fire’, despite hospital bosses insisting that no decisions about A&E, maternity and children’s services have been made.
And she is worried that while all eyes are on facilities in Scarborough, the lack of services at Bridlington show no sign of being addressed.
Mrs Wormwell said: “I think we have seen it all before and somehow or other they will have made up their minds what they are going to do.
“There was no mention of Bridlington Hospital, it was quite worrying really, and there are obviously going to be big changes.
“Everybody was complaining about the lack of notice for this meeting and then half the people who had registered didn’t turn up.”
Health bosses have insisted no decisions have been made. A statement from York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “This review is at a very early stage, and contrary to what has been reported in the media and on social media, we are not in formal consultation and there are no proposals for what any of our services might look like in the future.”
But the Free Press received an email from someone claiming to be a doctor at the trust, who said: “Some of the proposals are incredibly radical.
“Reducing Accident and Emergency to a minor injuries unit is a suggestion, 40 miles from any other hospital. York is only 25 miles from a teaching hospital. People will die being transferred to other hospitals when they are critically ill.
“Another suggestion is a midwifery-led unit. First-time mums are often low-risk, but then if an emergency Caesarean section is needed they will have to be transferred in a rocky ambulance 40 miles away, most likely whilst the rest of their family can’t go with them.
“Many who start bleeding during delivery will have poor outcomes.”
“If we don’t have a good hospital, we won’t attract tourists, our businesses won’t attract future employees. The local people need to know these facts, it’s an outcry that they have kept it from them.”
A consultation event was held in Bridlington on Tuesday but drew criticism because it was not publicised until less than a week before it took place, and because people had to register before they could attend.
Mrs Wormwell was one of those there and she said: Bridlington’s public transport set-up would make life incredibly difficult for the town’s elderly population.
“Someone has said they are talking about downgrading A&E,” added Mrs Wormwell. “For God’s sake, where are people going to go?
“At the moment, if you want to visit someone at Scarborough Hospital and haven’t got a car, it is a full day. You couldn’t visit people in York.
“I’m very, very sorry for the staff that work for the NHS. They must be fed up and worried to death.
“But I am also concerned about patients. These areas are growing all the time, with more and more housing being built. Nothing makes sense any more.
“The ordinary person in the street is getting worried but public opinion never makes any difference.
“There are all sorts of rumours and there is no smoke without fire.”